METAMORA TWP. (WWJ/AP) – Do puppies associated with the bloodline of two dogs that fatally attacked a jogger in Lapeer County, deserve to die?
Craig Sytsma, 46, was out for a jog after work last Wednesday when he was attacked by two Cane Corso dogs in Metamora Township, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit. He later died from his wounds.
It was the third attack by dogs from the same home in the past two years.
Following the attack, the two Cane Corsos, a third adult dog and multiple puppies were removed from the owners’ property. Authorities have already decided to destroy the dogs involved in the attack — and a hearing on Friday will determine whether or not the puppies, along with the third adult dog, will be euthanized.
“The indication from talking to my experts in animal control is that with that bloodline now, they just can’t be trusted,” Assistant Lapeer County Prosecutor Mike Hodges told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill.
“We either seize the animals, put them down or adopt them out. And then if we adopted them out, we’re nervous that they’re going to come back and again it’s, ‘Well, you knew these were dangerous animals,'” he said.
Hodges described the two cane corsos that attacked Sytsma as being about 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall.
“They are not huge, but they are quite aggressive,” he said. “I’ve never seen an adult mauling like this.”
Hodges said he also expects a decision by the end of the week on whether or not the dogs’ owner will face criminal charges. Under Michigan law, a person may face involuntary manslaughter or other charges in such an attack.
The dogs involved in the attack have a history of escaping from their kennel and have bitten at least twice before, Hodges said. But in both of those cases, his office wasn’t notified.
“Certainly in hindsight, we wish we got in there earlier and could have prevented a death. We had a meeting [Tuesday] with animal control and the police departments and we want to make sure something like this doesn’t happen in the future. But, I do have to stress, this is almost literally a one in a million scenario,” Hodges said.
Detroit-area attorney Glenn Saltsman said he has two clients who were bit by dogs while walking near the property.
One man “said he thought the dogs were going to kill him,” Saltsman said. “The adult dog big him in the leg.”
The other, April Smith, was attacked in May 2012 as she and her sister walked their dog.
“The same corso charged from the house and just nailed her from behind,” Saltsman said. “Bit her pretty good in the calf.”
Police investigated both incidents and turned the cases over to animal control officials. The owners were ticketed, but the dogs never were removed, according to Saltsman.
Smith sued the owners and reached a $20,000 settlement that has not yet been paid. Saltsman said he has not yet filed a suit in last November’s attack.
Police have not released the names of the owners. Hodges said it appears they were breeding dogs at the property.
According to the American Kennel Club, a Cane Corso is a muscular and large-boned dog breed in the working group. A native of Italy, the Cane Corso was historically kept as a property watchdog that hunted wild boar. Today, Cane Corsos are known to be affectionate to their owner and bond closely with children and family, the AKC says. The large and athletic breed needs a lot of exercise, but can be easily trained.
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